Androgens are often referred to has "male" hormones, when in fact, they are better classified as sex steroids or hormones. They are hormones like progesterone, testosterone, androstenedione, DHT, and others. These hormones are not just for men, but ensure proper fertility and sexual health as well as good metabolic function and energy production.
Typically, as we age or become stressed and ill, these hormones plummet and stress substances rise. Not to mention, these hormones are greatly opposed by estrogens, which dominant the modern toxic world. So really, anyone interested in optimal health, a strong libido and good energy would have an interest in androgen hormone production.
The good news - there are various herbs that help ensure optimal androgen production that we want to share with you!
The Best Herbs for Androgen Production
There are a few different types of herbs that help to optimize androgen levels. Considering the physiology and endocrinology of hormones, we want to take a systemic approach. These herbs here will help us do that:
Pine Pollen: Pine Pollen is a unique herb, being one of the only "androgenic" plants, meaning it actually contains exogenous androgen substances. Most plants tend to be estrogenic, mimicking estrogen, containing it or increasing it. However, pine pollen For now, no other plant is known to contain androgenic substances. Best of all, Pine Pollen contains all four of the major androgen (male sex) hormones, Androstenedione, Testosterone, Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and Androsterone. The only downside to this supplement is that if your androgen deficiencies are causes by stress (cortisol namely), it won't help to correct that cause. It does have an anti-estrogenic effect though for those who's root cause is estrogen dominance. Either way, Pine Pollen is a must-have herb for those with hormonal deficiencies.
- Androgen Promoters: Next, we have a handful of herbs that all help to mimic the endocrine signaling processes in the body, which increase the production of androgen hormones via the endocrine glands. The body using three hormone signaling substances to produce the sex hormones. First, gonadotropic releasing hormone (GnRH), also known as luteinizing releasing hormone, which is secreted by the hypothalamus. GnRH acts upon the pituitary gland to produce luteinizing hormone (LH) also known as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Both LH and FSH then act on the Leydig cells of the testis to produce testosterone.
There are actually a few herbs that can facilitate this process on the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis to ultimately increase testosterone, unlike Pine Pollen. These herbs include Cistanche, Tonkat Ali and Tribulus terrestris.
Anti-Estrogens: Lastly, we have a few herbs that can indirectly raise testosterone levels by inhibiting estrogens. This includes Nettle Root and Milk Thistle primarily. Looking first at nettle root, this herb has ben clinically proven to lower estrogen to nearly undetectable levels. Nettle Root in another way; it blocks the loss of testosterone caused by sex hormone binding globulin. We have a few types of testosterone in the body; free testosterone is the active type, but only makes up about 1-2% of all the testosterone in the body. The rest (98-99%) is usually bound up with sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which is usually converted to estrogen metabolites through a process called aromatization, when under stress or if you have hypothyroid.
However, the active compound in Nettle Root, beta-sitosterol, is known to out compete testosterone for SHBG, and can even free-up testosterone that has been bound by SHBG.
So, Nettle Root prevents the loss of testosterone and frees testosterone to SHBG, and has an anti-aromatase effect, inhibiting testosterone from being lost to estrogen. This is important for optimizing androgens because the aromatization process is a major reason people tend be to become low in testosterone. Estrogen not only opposes testosterone, but tends to mimic the pathology of all diseases.
In addition to Nettle Root, Milk Thistle also helps to stop the aromatase process and helps to eliminate excess estrogen from the liver.